It was only my second day on campus, and I already found myself wandering lost through the Diag, teary-eyed and heartbroken because I had just said goodbye to my parents. As someone who has always been very close with family, never lived away from home, and didn’t know a single person going to Michigan, the transition to college was full of anxiety and fear. I was clueless and terrified of what was ahead. I lacked confidence in my ability to adjust to dorm life, make friends, and succeed in academics. In many cases, entering college with such a negative mindset would ultimately lead to a poor first-year experience. Fortunately, the mentorships I have fostered with HSSP peer and residence advisors provided the guidance and support I needed throughout my first semester. HSSP also gave me a large network of other first-year students with similar academic interest and motivation. Through the program’s study groups, service projects, and community building activities, I have created special bonds with people that I know I’ll remain close with throughout the next four years. HSSP has played a tremendous role in making the large, intimidating campus of Michigan feel like home. If I could go back to the beginning of freshman year, I would reassure myself that the transition to college life will not be as tough as I anticipated. This university provides the support system needed to create a comfortable, safe environment for all incoming students.
Though my preconception that academics at Michigan would be very difficult has definitely proven to be true, I would also advise myself to relax and remember that I got into Michigan for a reason. Through trial and error and a focused mindset, I learned to manage my course load and succeed in my classes. The academics here have truly pushed me to my limits and revealed my potential to do well at Michigan. Furthermore, I learned that studying does not have to be a boring chore you do alone in your room! Throughout the year, I utilized campus resources such as the Science Learning Center and Math Lab. Through my SLC study group and hours with upperclassmen math tutors, I was able to truly delve in depth into class material, collaborate and understand unique approaches towards problems, express my own ideas, and bond with fellow Wolverines. These resources opened my eyes to the large amount of support offered at this university, and I feel beyond lucky to belong to an academic community where everyone here is more than willing to help one another succeed.
To conclude, if I could travel back and tell only tell myself only one thing, it would be that I do not belong anywhere else besides Michigan. Ann Arbor has become my home, and the Wolverine community has become my family. Whether I’m cheering on the team in the Big House on a Saturday game day or studying hours of organic chemistry with peers on a Sunday morning, I find myself unbelievably happy. I’ve discovered that at Michigan, everyday is something new, and I’m beyond excited to spend the next four years in a place I feel like I am truly living life to the fullest. As I reflect on my first year, I am filled with not only awe at how much my life has changed in such a short amount of time, but also immense pride in how much I have grown as an individual. I’ve discovered so much about who I am and who I hope to be through Michigan’s excelling academics, incredible programs and opportunities, and supportive student body. Coming here was the best decision I have ever made. Now, with my first year already completed, I feel fully driven to continue working and pushing towards my academic, career, and personal goals in the years to come.